The RIRA Column

September 26, 2015

Jeffrey Escobar, President
Roosevelt Island Residents Association
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Summer has just turned to fall, and your RIRA Common Council has been hard at work again following the July-August hiatus. From planned pumpkin patches in October to finalizing the Council’s allocation recommendations for the Public Purpose Funds, there’s a lot going on.

Ferry Service

During the public session of the October 7 Council meeting, starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Good Shepherd Center, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) will hold its first public scoping meeting for Roosevelt Island. There will be a presentation of the Citywide Ferry Service plan to the RIRA Common Council, the Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee, and you, the community’s residents. Announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio as an expansion of the City’s ferry system, the EDC has proposed five routes connecting 21 locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, to be rolled out in two phases beginning in 2017. The contemplated ferry route serving Roosevelt Island would originate from Hallets Point in Astoria, land at Roosevelt Island and in Long Island City, then continue to East 34th Street and Wall Street/Pier 11 in Manhattan. The purpose of the October 7 scoping meeting is not only to present the plan, but also to give residents, who will be directly affected by and use the service, an opportunity to voice concerns, questions, and/or support for the proposed service and dock location. It should be noted that, after the first scoping meeting with Long Island City residents, attendees were able to persuade the EDC to consider relocating the planned dock from north of Anable Basin to just south, at Center Boulevard. Now is our time. For more information regarding the Citywide Ferry Service, timing of the program’s launch, and expected routes, go to nycedc.com/project/citywide-ferry-service. See you on October 7!

Public Purpose Funds

The Public Purpose Funds (PPF) Committee continues to work with RIOC on setting up the Community Presentations schedule, at which the 10 applicants will have the opportunity to give presentations of their applications, be interviewed by committee members, and answer questions from those in attendance. Due to scheduling difficulties posed by the number of religious holidays this September, the Community Presentations were delayed from the middle of September to October 9, 13, and 14, and will be held at the Good Shepherd Center starting at 8:00 p.m. All Community Presentations are open to the public, and you are strongly encouraged to attend. Once the presentations have concluded, the Common Council will review the committee’s recommendations and vote on the proposed allocations. For information regarding the Public Purpose Funds process and schedule, and any questions you may have, go to rioc.ny.gov/pdf/PPG_Guidelines.pdf or contact the RIRA Public Purpose Funds Committee Chair, Dave Evans, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Community Board 8

The Roosevelt Island Committee of Community Board 8 will hold a meeting on September 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Manhattan Park Community Center (8 River Road). There will be a presentation by Rosina Abramson of Envac, a waste-collection company that served as consultants to the NYC Department of Sanitation on the upgrade of Roosevelt Island’s AVAC system and the current planned non-use of the system by Cornell. The meeting will also involve discussion of recent developments in the construction and installation of the Hope Memorial in Southpoint Park, and the review of the Memorial’s design by the Public Design Commission. For more information concerning the meeting and how you can be more involved in the work of the Roosevelt Island Committee and Community Board 8, contact one of the Committee’s Co-Chairs, Larry Parnes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Food for Seniors

During the August Roosevelt Island Town Hall meeting hosted by New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer announced her push to have her successful Fresh Food for Seniors program expand to more senior citizen centers in Northern Manhattan. Started in 2012 in conjunction with GrowNYC and the Department for the Aging, the Fresh Food for Seniors program seeks to provide senior citizens throughout Manhattan with locally-grown fruits and vegetables for just $8 a bag, delivered to their senior center. At the time of the August meeting, our Roosevelt Island Senior Center was not one of the recipients. Through the subsequent efforts of the board members of the Roosevelt Island Seniors Association and the Borough President’s Office, our Senior Center will now participate in the program, with an anticipated start date in October. For information regarding the program, go to manhattanbp.nyc.gov/html/issues/seniorfoodprogram.shtml. The Common Council congratulates the Senior Center and the Roosevelt Island Seniors Association for their success in bringing this important program to the Island.

Call for Public Service

Many thanks from me and from our committee chairs to the many of you who have heeded our call to become members of RIRA Common Council committees. Your volunteerism and public service make our programs successful, and are a necessary part of life on the Island. Whether it be Social, Cultural and Educational Services, who tirelessly plan community-wide events, or Public Safety, or Island Services, or some other important committee, if you’re interested in joining, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We welcome new members at any time.

As stated in prior columns, a few Common Council seats remain open, particularly in The Octagon and Manhattan Park. If joining a committee isn’t your thing, and advocacy about Island issues interests you more, I strongly recommend that you consider taking one of the open seats. For more information, contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Aaron Hamburger, Nominations Committee Chair, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. RIRA and its Common Council need your expertise, talent, and time.

Congratulations to The WIRE

Lastly, many congratulations to our colleagues and friends at The Main Street WIRE for its feature in the September 15 issue of The Wall Street Journal, and the recognition for all that it does to inform the community. Kudos to you and your editors! wsj.com/articles/news-for-and-from-roosevelt-island-1442366103

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Contact Info

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